Nasa’s new 3d-printed superalloy can handle high temperatures

A 3D printable alloy designed for environments.


Multiprincipal-element alloys are an important class of materials due to their mechanical and oxidation-resistant properties. A team of innovators from NASA and The Ohio State University detailed the characteristics of the new alloy, GRX-810, an oxide-dispersion-strengthened NiCoCr-based alloy.

GRX-810 uses laser powder bed fusion to disperse nanoscale Y2O3 particles throughout the microstructure without resource-intensive processing steps.

NASA has made a breakthrough in 3D printing high-temperature materials, which could lead to stronger, more durable aircraft and spacecraft parts. Using high-resolution microstructure characterization, they also revealed the effective incorporation and dispersion of nanoscale oxides throughout the construct volume.

Dr. Tim Smith of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, lead author of the Nature paper, said, “This superalloy has the potential to dramatically improve the strength and toughness of components and parts used in aviation and space exploration.”

GRX-810 was developed by Smith and his Glenn colleague Christopher Kantzos. They also created the novel alloy using time-saving computer modeling and a laser 3D printing technology that fused metals together layer by layer. They used this method to create the NASA logo.

GRX-810 is an oxide dispersion-strengthened alloy, which means that tiny particles of oxygen atoms distributed throughout the alloy increase its strength. Because they can tolerate harder temperatures before reaching their breaking points, such alloys are great options for building aerospace parts for high-temperature applications, such as those found inside aircraft and rocket engines.

GRX-810 is twice as strong, over 1,000 times more durable, and twice as oxidation-resistant than current state-of-the-art 3D printed superalloys.

Dale Hopkins, deputy project manager of NASA’s Transformational Tools and Technologies project, said, “This new alloy is a major achievement. In the near future, it may be one of the most successful technology patents NASA Glenn has ever produced.”

The GRX-810 was created as part of NASA’s Transformational Tools and Technologies program.

The research was funded by the agency’s Game Changing Development Programme.

Journal Reference:

  1. Smith, T. M., Kantzos, Zarkevich, et al. A 3D printable alloy designed for extreme environments. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-05893-0
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